Once a loved one dies and leaves behind a will, it may be necessary to check the will's validity. For example, the bank may need the will validated so that it can distribute the deceased person's property according to the will. The question is, can you do this alone or do you need to hire a family law attorney?
The executor of the deceased person's estate may or may not need the court's authority to administer the will. This authority is what is called probate. You can distribute certain assets without probate, for example, an insurance policy with a named beneficiary. You can also use out of court procedures for small estates, if applicable in your state. Where probate is needed, you may hire an attorney. This is often the best decision, when the will is contested, when there is a large estate at stake, or when there is no remaining relative who wishes to take on the responsibility of doing the paperwork involved in distributing the will. Read on to find out more about these factors.
The Will is under Contention
In certain cases, some family members could contest the validity of the will. In such a case you will need to prove its validity. This is a good point to bring in the family attorney to try and iron out things.
The Size and Nature of the Estate
If you are dealing with a small estate that consists of mainly bank accounts, household goods, a home etc; you may go ahead and get probate yourself. On the other hand, if the estate is vast and includes commercial assets, you do well to get your family attorney involved right from the start. Such large estates can attract litigation and contention and it's important to put your lawyer in the picture before any litigation occurs.
The Paperwork Involved
Executing a will is a complex matter that involves distributing assets to beneficiaries, paying debts and filing taxes, among others. The amount of paperwork involved can be overwhelming. If you do not have the time or the heart for this job, then maybe you should involve your family attorney.
You may not need to hire an attorney if there's no contention to the will or if the deceased person's estate is small. However, if the situation is complex and likely to attract litigation, it is wise to get your family attorney involved in the probate.
If you've decided that you want to adopt a child, the first thing you should do is reach out to a family law attorney. While it may not seem logical to get an attorney involved from the start, it's important that you protect yourself legally from the beginning. After making the decision to adopt, I have been through the process several times. I created this site to help other adoptive parents understand what they can expect from the entire process, including the legal support you're likely to need. I hope this information helps you feel more confident in this major life decision.